The Scrap Album - Site Guide


From the early 1800s publishers produced
picture sheets that were uncoloured or, at extra cost, hand coloured and sold by stationers and booksellers.

The colourful reliefs, adored by the Victorians, were embossed and glossy. They are said to have been imported to Britain in the 1850s and soon became popular as decorative additions to Christmas cards and valentines. They were also used to illustrate historical as well as popular events of the time.

The immediate forerunner of the embossed scraps were sheets containing small chromos printed in a rectangular format to be cut out in exactly the same way as the first penny postage stamps.

In the Victorian home a fashionable pastime was to embellish the folding screens that the draughty living rooms required.


Scraps, known as reliefs, chromos or die-cuts, were printed by chromolithography, stamped out and embossed.

After printing of the scrap the sheets were coated with a gelatine and gum layer which gave the finished sheets a glossy surface, embossing came next giving the scrap their three-dimensional look.

The final production process was to pass them through a punching / stamping press to cut away the unrequired areas of paper from the design leaving the individual images connected by small ladders, often bearing the name or initials of the maker.

The elaborate use of stamping can often be seen in uncut scrap sheets. Optimum use of space, required minimal cutting and lead to the intricate and ingenious design of the cutting die.

  • A humorous selection of Victorian scraps

The Victorian Scrap

Albums & Scraps
Saint Valentines Day
Easter & Fairyland
Christmas & New Year
Printed Ephemera